Podcast: Back to School—Student Sums it up for all, Saying ‘Little Bit Scared’ but ‘a Lot Excited’

Haverhill school bus. (WHAV News file photograph.)

While a ransomware attack yesterday is keeping Haverhill public school students in grades 2, 3 and 4 from taking their seats today in classrooms, kindergarten and first graders returned to in-person attendance Monday.

Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta tells WHAV listeners that responses were overall positive.

“Inside schools, everything went really smooth. The kids were adorable. I was in quite a few schools and the kids were happy to be back. One little boy told me he was just a little bit scared to be back, but he was a lot excited—and I think that sums it up for everyone,” she says.

Marotta, a guest Tuesday on WHAV’s morning program, said there was a little bit of confusion, however, when it came to transportation. She said the drivers did their best under the circumstances.

“They know the bus stops and every child has a bus pass and a stop, and they aren’t supposed to leave any child at a bus stop without visual contact with of a parent. But sometimes there are a lot of kids getting off the bus and there are a lot of parents standing out there. So, we need to be hypervigilant. Just reminding parents that if there is a change, please don’t assume that we know. Let us know in writing,” she says.

Marotta explains parents shouldn’t rely on a “verbal notification” when it comes to changing transportation plans.

“If you have some kind of an alternate drop, or a change in the routine for your kids busing, make sure you speak to someone in the office, and that you give them a written note to make sure that we are getting everybody to the place they need to go—particularly the little ones who get confused,” she says.

The superintendent says she is also ramping up the efforts to fill several principal positions.

“We have interims at several schools from last year. If you remember, we had a couple of principals switch places, so that would be Consentino and Pentucket Lake, and principal and assistant principal switched places. We have those we need to firm up. Tilton School, Bonnie Antkowiack went to Central Office. Erin Mackay took over as interim there, so those are things we need to have a process. They are all doing a great job, but we still need to have a process and let teachers and parents have some say in the process. And then Silver Hill School, Scott Gray took over knowing it was just going to be for a year so that’s a complete opening. We don’t have any internal candidates for that,” she notes.

Marotta adds other jobs are available, including teachers, teachers’ aides, bus drivers and custodians. She says she prefers to fill the positions with local candidates whom, she says, tend to stay on the job for longer periods of time.

The entire interview may be heard on WHAV’s “Merrimack Valley Newsmakers” podcasts, available at WHAV.net and Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts, TuneIn and Alexa.

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